Vegas captain Stone scores quick in return and defending Cup champions open with 4-3 win at Dallas

Vegas captain Stone scores quick in return and defending Cup champions open with 4-3 win at Dallas
Vegas captain Stone scores quick in return and defending Cup champions open with 4-3 win at Dallas

DALLAS (AP) — Vegas captain Mark Stone scored quickly after missing two months, Tomas Hertl had a nifty goal in his playoff debut for the Golden Knights and the reigning Stanley Cup champions opened defense of their title with a 4-3 win over the top -seeded Dallas Stars on Monday night.

Jonathan Marchessault got his franchise-record 36th postseason goal for Vegas, while Brayden McNabb scored on a 50-foot sniper shot from against the boards in the second period. Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin, a trade-deadline acquisition like Hertl, both had two assists.

The Knights entered this postseason as the No. 8 seed and a first-round opener in Dallas, where last year they wrapped up the West final with a Game 6 victory after having won the first three games. Game 2 of this series is Wednesday night.

Logan Thompson got the start in net for Vegas, stopping 27 shots in his postseason debut after coach Bruce Cassidy went with him over fellow 27-year-old goalie Adin Hill, who had a 1.99 goals-against-average and two shutouts against the Stars in the West final last year. The two had split starts down the stretch, although Hill had struggled much of this season with injuries and inconsistent play.

Stone missed the final 26 games of the regular season after he lacerated his spleen Feb. 20, and had just returned to full-contact practice two days earlier. But he quickly had a playoff impact, with his back to the net in the slot when he tipped a shot by Hanifin that got past screened goalie Jake Oettinger during a power play only 1:23 into the game.

Vegas led 2-0 when Marchessault scored on a pass from Ivan Barashev. Marchessault and William Karlsson are the only Knights who have played in all 89 playoff games for the franchise that has made the postseason in seven of its eight seasons.

Marchessault’s tally came only about a minute after the Stars thought they had tied the game on a goal by Ryan Suter, whose 1,444 regular-season games without a Stanley Cup are the most by any active player. But Suter’s goal was taken off the board because of an offside call against Mason Marchment after a coach’s challenge and an official replay.

The Stars got goals from captain Jamie Benn, Jason Robertson and Marchment, who scored with 8:14 left.

Benn took a long pass from Wyatt Johnston and after charging toward the net, made a slick move and swiped the puck through Thompson’s legs to get the Stars to 2-1.

Oettinger, an All-Star this season, has allowed two goals or less in 10 of his last 11 regular-season games. I have had 11 saves.

He gave up three goals in the first period, including Hertl’s three seconds after a Dallas penalty. Hertl won the faceoff, then went to the front of the net and took a pass from Hanifin, swiped at the puck before reggathering it and knocking it into the net for a 3-1 lead.

Only 40 seconds later, Robertson scored after rookie Logan Stankhoven got the puck away from Stone near the blue line.

McNabb had eight of Vegas’ 19 blocked shots.

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AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

 
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